The Insistence of Investigation on Violence and Persecution against Human Rights Defenders: Mrs. Anum Siregar
The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) – a human rights non-governmental organization based in Jakarta, Indonesia – has received information about an attack on human rights lawyer Anum Siregar in Wamena, Papua province. KontraS has also obtained consent from the victims in order to submit this letter.
Violence and persecution of Mrs. Anum is a form of terror against human rights defenders and threatened the work in defending law and human rights in Papua. In this case, the government should guarantee the protection of human rights defenders, as stated in the Universal Periodic Review recommendations 2012 which said that Indonesian government must provide the certainty over a secure environment and support the work of human rights defenders, including guarantees to conduct an independent and impartial investigation on acts of violence against human rights defenders and ensure the legal process.
Under Article 2 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, each state has a duty to create the conditions necessary to defend human rights within their jurisdictions. However, KontraS continues to receive credible reports of attacks against human rights defenders (HRDs) and journalists around Indonesia, and HRDs are regularly intimidated and harassed in the Papua region.
International human rights observers, non-governmental organizations and journalists are severely restricted in their work in the Papua region. Two French journalists arrested by police on 6 August 2014 in Wamena Regency of Papua province, remain in detention for immigration violations. Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat were reportedly making a documentary on the separatist movement in the Papuan region.
The denial of free and unimpeded access to these provinces limits independent reporting of the human rights situation there. In May 2013, the then UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, urged Indonesia to “allow international journalists into Papua and to facilitate visits by the Special Rapporteurs of the UN Human Rights Council”.
Most past human rights violations against HRDs in Indonesia, including torture and other ill-treatment, possible unlawful killings and enforced disappearances, remain unsolved and those responsible have not been brought to justice. Besides continued reports of intimidation and attacks against HRDs, they have also been the subject of criminal defamation proceedings due to their work.
Mrs. Anum Siregar was attacked by an unknown person at about 11pm on 16 September on the way back to her hotel from a court hearing. The attacker, armed with a knife, stole her bag and injured her hand before fleeing the scene. Mrs. Anum Siregar received treatment for her injuries at Wamena hospital, requiring at least two stitches.
Mrs. Anum Siregar and another lawyer had travelled from Jayapura to Wamena to represent Mr. Areki Wanimbo, the Head of the Lani Besar Tribal Council, at a pre-trial hearing. When they arrived both felt they were being monitored. They were challenging Mr. Areki Wanimbo’s arrest and detention which they believe to have been unlawful and in violation of Indonesia’s Criminal Procedure Code. Mr. Areki Wanimbo was arrested on 6 August after meeting two foreign journalists who were making a documentary on the separatist movement in the Papuan region. He was accused of supporting separatist activities and charged with “rebellion” under Articles 106 and 110 of Indonesia’s Criminal Code.
Mrs. Anum Siregar is a respected human rights lawyer and has represented numerous victims of human rights violations in Papua for over a decade. She is also the Director of Alliance of Democracy for Papua (ALDP), a human rights organization in Papua. There are continued concerns that she might face retaliation for her human rights work.
Based on above-mentioned situations, KontraS demand:
- The Indonesian Police to take immediate action to ensure the safety of Anum Siregar, in accordance with her wishes;
- The Indonesian Police to conduct a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into any allegations that this attack was linked to Anum Siregar’s work as a human rights defender;
- The Indonesian Police to immediately and unconditionally release Areki Wanimbo as he is a prisoner of conscience, arrested solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression;
- The National Commission on Human Rights [Komnas HAM], the Agency of Victims and Witness Protection [LPSK] and the Police to establish special mechanisms to ensure the protection of human rights defenders in Indonesia.
Jakarta, September 18, 2014
Executive Coordinator of KontraS
*For further information please contact Ms.Ninies (email@example.com) or through KontraS Secretariat (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Below are Indonesian related-authorities to be asked for clarification:
- Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
President Republic of Indonesia
Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara
Jakarta Pusat 10010 INDONESIA
Fax: + 62 21 231 41 38, 345 2685, 345 7782
Phone: + 62 21 3845627 ext 1003
National Commission on Human Rights
Jl. Latuharhary No.4B Menteng
Jakarta, Indonesia 10310
Phone: +62 21 3925230
Fax: +62 21 3925227
- Mr. Abdul Haris Semendawai
Agency of Witness and Victim Protection (Lembaga Perlindungan Saksi dan Korban)
Gedung Perintis Kemerdekaan (Gedung Pola) Lt. 1
Jl. Proklamasi No. 56
Jakarta Pusat 10320
Phone: +62 21 3190 7021
Indonesian National Police Headquarter
Jl. Trunojoyo, Selong Kebayoran Baru
Jakarta Selatan 12110
Phone: +62 21 7218555
Chairman of National Police Commission of Indonesia
Jl. Tirtayasa VII No.20 Kebayoran Baru – Jakarta Selatan 12160
E-mail: email@example.com ; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Papua Regional Head of Police
Jl. Samratulangi No. 8 Jayapura,
Fax: +62 967 531014 / +62 967 533396
Jl. HR. Rasuna Said Kav. C-19 Kuningan (Gedung Pengadilan TIPIKOR)
Phone: +62 21 52960894/95
Fax: +62 21-52960904/05